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Obituary


Blues Music List - David Rotenstein

"John Campbell Dead", Blues-l, June 14, 1993

John Campbell, 41, died in his sleep early Sunday morning at his home in Manhattan. According to his former manager, Campbell had gone to sleep after going to buy flowers for his wife, Dolly. She awakened at about 5 a.m. Sunday to find John unconscious. Her efforts to revive him were unsuccessful and she called paramedics; he never regained consciousness.

Sources indicate that Campbell had been taking prescription tranquilizers and medicine for a long-term heart ailment. Results of toxicology tests have not been released and no official cause of death has been given.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, 10 a.m. at St. Vincent�s Ferrare, 66th and Lexington, in Manhattan. Campbell will be eulogized by Dr. John and the Hell's Angels plan a memorial ride in Campbell's honor.

John Campbell is survived by his wife, Dolly Fox and their six-month-old daughter, Paris.

He will be missed. - David Rotenstein - Message to Blues Music List

Posted Tuesday, June 15, 1993 20:41:06

This article has been translated to French by Jacques Dulac. French Translation


Rolling Stone - John Swenson

"Tribute: John Campbell 1952-1993", Rolling Stone, Aug 5, 1993

An Angel white floral arrangement shaped into an oversize guitar stood silent vigil at the entrance to St. Peter's Church in Manhattan, welcoming mourners to a memorial service for blues guitarist-singer John Campbell, who died in his sleep of heart failure on June 13 at the relatively young age of 41. Campbell's own National steel guitar, a single long-stem white rose affixed to its neck, was placed before the altar inside the church. These striking visual elements conveyed a spiritual peace to the numb, tearful crowd of family, friends, fans and fellow musicians gathered that summer morning to share the grief of his passing.

"This earth is no place I'm proud to call home," said family friend Dr. John in his eulogy. "All these people touched by him understand there must be a better place. He gave us more than music, he gave himself. He came from that Delta roots and Mississippi mud and showed us the way to something much higher."

Campbell played the guitar as if Robert Johnson were his private tutor. He managed to ferret out the deepest secrets of Delta blues, nurturing the music's mysterious passion as well as updating it to include a collective vision that extended through his own contemporary blues songs like "One Believer," "Wiseblood" and "Wolf Among the Lambs" to the songwriting of Tom Waits and an intuitive grasp of the connection Led Zeppelin made with Memphis Minnie on "When the Levee Breaks."

Campbell died just as he was emerging from cult status. A native of Shreveport, La., Campbell had been a Gulf Coast sensation since arriving on the scene as a teenage prodigy playing the music of Johnson, Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters.

Despite being nominated for a W.C. Handy award for his debut album on the German import label Crosscut, Campbell was a regional success until the late 1980s, when he showcased at New York blues clubs and was offered a major-label contract. His critically acclaimed Elektra debut, One Believer, was followed earlier this year by Howlin' Mercy.

Campbell, who lived in Manhattan, is survived by his wife, Dolly Fox; his infant daughter, Paris; his brother, William; his sister, Ellen Searcey; and his father, John.

Copyright 1993 Rolling Stone


Blueprint - Bob Chapman

"John Campbell", Blueprint, July 1993 p 8

John Campbell died in his sleep in New York on Sunday, 13 June, aged forty-one years. The cause of death is not yet known, but we have been told that it could have been related to the medications he was still taking to cope with the after effects of the horrific drag racing accident he suffered as a sixteen-year old, when he lost both an eye and a lung. Whatever the cause, John's death is a hammer blow to the blues community, to the many friends he had made in this country and in Europe in the last two years, and above all his family.

John first came to our attention when he supported Buddy Guy at London's Town and Country Club in November 1991. Such was the dramatic impression that he made on the Editorial Staff that night that we secured an interview in Blueprint to find out about his life and music. At that time, he had one, mainly acoustic album recorded under the direction of Ronnie Earl (John Campbell: A Man and His Blues, Crosscut Records, CCD 11019, released 1988), and the more recently released debut album for Elektra, 'One Believer'. It was clear that John was at a crossroads in his life, being signed to a major record label, touring with Buddy Guy, and visiting Europe for the first time.

The carefully crafted songs on 'One Believer' (a cooperative venture with producer Dennis Walker and guitarist Zonder Kennedy) were John's personal exorcism, his coming to terms with his experiences through nearly twenty-five years on the tough bar and roadhouse circuits of the southern states. This year's follow up 'Howlin Mercy' was a more positive, almost defiant album, which brought his road band into your living rooms and showed the direction which his higher-energy blues was going to take.

In between the two Elektra albums, John was one of the moving forces behind Justice Records' 'Strike a Deep Chord', a project featuring such artists as Dr. John, Ronnie Earl, Johnny Copeland, Gatemouth Brown and Odetta, and dedicated to raising money for America's homeless. The reworking of 'Brother Can You Spare a Dime?' is chillingly enhanced by John's atmospheric slide guitar.

Alist of record releases cannot possibly substitute for an appreciation of a man and his music. For me, and many others in this country, John was the real deal, an artist who dug deep into the Delta traditions, and yet was audibly taking the blues in his own, personal direction. There was no rock masquerading as blues here.

I have commented before on the stunning imagery of John's songs, setting them apart from many "contemporary" blues compositions. His live performances were electrifying in their honesty and sheer endeavour: you felt that here was a man who was giving everything and, in doing so, both artist and audience were achieving the victory which John believed was the basis of the blues.

Those of us who were fortunate to know John were immediately struck by the contradiction beween the image (as seen in the photos in the booklet of 'One Believer') and the man. He joked about that image, referring to himself as "Mr. Sunshine," and positively fell about laughing when he read a Blueprint review which described him as "like something out of a Hammer movie, only twice as frightening," who gave his audience a "full-scale gutting" through his performance!

Probably for the first time in twenty-five years he had found a contentment both musically and personally. He was making records, touring the world, and equally important for him, he was making new friends. He was always enthusiastic about his music and his life, even when suffering physically, and he made friends feel welcome and the center of his attention after gigs.

John was always generous to me and my family when we met up, and the last time we talked he was bubbling with excitement over his new-found contentment, centered on his wife Dolly and their baby daughter, Paris. He had achieved his victory and was helping others to achieve theirs.

Thank you, John. We believed in you and we will miss you.

Copyright 1993 Blueprint


Chicago Tribune - Bill Dahl

"Recalling the Talent Behind John Campbell's Dark Vision", Chicago Tribune, June 25, 1993

John Campbell harbored a singularly bleak blues vision. His gravel-strewn vocals and starkly brooding, voodoo-soaked songs marked the fiery guitarist as a unique up-and-comer on the contemporary blues scene. On June 13, reportedly while asleep, Campbell died unexpectedly of heart failure in New York City.

An exceptional slide guitarist, the 41-year-old Campbell released his domestic debut album, "One Believer," on Elektra in 1991. The intense, lyrically downbeat set, much of it written by Campbell and co-producer Dennis Walker, featured songs such as "Devil in My Closet" and "Tiny Coffin" that reverberated with harrowing imagery.

Campbell encored earlier this year on Elektra with "Howlin Mercy," another walk on the spooky side. An ominous cover of Tom Waits' "Down in the Hole" and the Walker/Campbell collaboration "Ain't Afraid of Midnight" walked the same treacherous ground, although the lighthearted original "Look What Love Can Do" momentarily offset the shroud of gloom.

The Shreveport, La., native was certainly no stranger to the darker side of life. At age 16, an auto accident cost Campbell his right eye and necessitated thousands of stitches in his face.

The wreck did have one positive effect, however. While enduring an extended recuperation, Campbell began to study and play the music of Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. His final local appearance was at Buddy Guy's Legends last winter.

Copyright 1993 Chicago Tribune


Billboard - Chris Morris

"Blues Singer, Guitarist John Campbell Dead at 41", Billboard, June 26, 1993 p 16

Blues singer/guitarist John Campbell, who cut two widely praised albums for Elektra Entertainment, died of heart failure June 13 at his home in New York. He was 41.

Campbell had a history of heart problems and had been taking medication for an ailment, according to his manager, Mike Gormley.

At the time of his death, Campbell was rehearsing material for a third album with former Double trouble member Tommy Shannon.

Born in Shreveport, La., Campbell began playing professionally at the age of 13; Lightnin' Hopkins was among his primary musical influences. After leaving home for Texas at 16, he spent years on the Southern blues circuit.

He relocated to New York in 1988, and recorded his first album, "A Man and His Blues," for Germany's Crosscut Records; it received a 1989 W.C. Handy Award nomination. He was signed to Elektra on the strength of his live shows at the Lone Star Cafe.

Campbell's two Elektra albums, "One Believer" (1991) and "Howlin Mercy" (1993), both were helmed by producer/songwriter Dennis Walker, who also worked on Robert Cray's best-selling recordings; Cray's former rhythm section appears on "One Believer." The records were distinguished by a highly charged, doom laden atmosphere and Campbell's craggy voice and sizzling guitar playing, which betrayed a deep knowledge of the country blues tradition.

"His amazing musical ability was based on 20 years of playing - he really did learn it traveling around Texas and Louisiana," says Gormley. "He was also a very, very intelligent man, and there was a spiritual aspect to John I was just learning about in the last couple of months ... an understanding of the spiritual side of things, and he put that into his music."

Campbell is survived by his wife, Dolly; his 5-month-old daughter, Paris; a sister, Ellen Searcey; a brother, William Campbell; and his father John Campbell, Sr.

Copyright 1993 Billboard


Farewell - Rolling Stone

"Farewell - John Campbell", Rolling Stone, December 23, 1993-January 6, 1994 p 79

At the age of 41, blues guitarist extraordinaire John Campbell died of heart failure on June 13 in New York City. Campbell took up the guitar at 16 after he was injured in a drag-racing accident. As he recovered, he spent countless hours listening to such blues greats as John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters, and their influence is evident in his albums One Believer and Howlin' Mercy. After years of playing roadhouses and cramped clubs, the Shreveport, La., native was on the verge of major stardom when he died.

Copyright 1994 Rolling Stone

This article has been translated to French by Jacques Dulac. French Translation


Blues & Rhythm - Neil Slaven

"John Campbell", Blues & Rhythm, No. 81, August 1993, p 23

It had to be June 13th. It's Sunday afternoon and its a couple of hours since Elektra A&R Director Howard Thompson rang from New York with the awful news that John Campbell died in his sleep at 6:00 AM their time. It's at these times that life leaves you feeling ineffectual. I'd talked to John three times and met him twice but he was already a friend whose music had rekindled enthusiasm for live music, whose sheer pleasure at having broken through to a new level of performance and acceptance radiated from his presence.

John was born in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1952, into a family that appreciated 'native' music. When he played his first gigs at 13, he'd already been playing guitar for five years. In those days, he was known as Johnny Slim and he gigged with guys like Bruce and Buddy Flett, later of the A-Train and later still of the Bluebirds. Two years later, a drag race went wrong and John lost an eye and had his face rebuilt. 25 years after the event, he was still in touch with the raw, alienated state from which he'd put his life back together. His guitar and the emotional anchor of the blues became his only solid ground, a counter-balance for the disorientation and pain. He took to the road soon after and for a couple of decades drifted from gig to gig throughout the South, from Texas to Georgia.

Eventually, a corner was turned and his music began to be appreciated. By then, he was in New York, supporting many of the blues artists who'd been his inspiration and savior. A chance meeting with Ronnie Earl led to the first album, recorded in April 1988 and released by Crosscut in 1990. A residency at New York's Lone Star Cafe led to a contract with Elektra Records and 'One Believer', released in 1991. Spare and atmospheric, the album's 10 songs, most co-written with producer Dennis Walker, laid the groundwork for what came next.

By contrast, 'Howlin Mercy', released at the beginning of this year, is a band album, with John's slide guitar riding rough-shod over rabid backing tracks laid down with Zonder Kennedy, Jimmy Pettit and Davis McLarty. 'When the Levee Breaks' may exercise Zeppelin apologists but 'Saddle Up My Pony' and 'Wolf Among the Lambs' have stature of their own. In January, he said, "This record is more in touch with my roots but at the same time, it's pushing with more urgency than I've ever been able to achieve before."

John had arrived at a profound acceptance of his situation. "There was a need for me to push through this. It was a path of great resistance and it was something I had to do alone. But now, I'm doing it with the knowledge that I didn't sell out. I didn't take the easy way. Every time I go on stage, I have to be willing to confront my pain and my mortality and be willing to evoke and invite people into that. It's hard to describe but it's very much like a ceremonial ritual for me." And though his career was moving onto larger venues and bigger stages, he didn't forget the times he'd played for free in soup kitchens. He instigated 'Strike a Deep Chord', an album on Justice Records with tracks by Odetta, Dr. John, Johnny Copeland and Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown, from which profits are donated to America's National Coalition for the Homeless.

John's music gave me something special long before I met him. I looked forward to much more music and many more meetings. I don't want to believe that that won't happen now. Wherever he is, I wish him well. But, I'd rather he was still around.

Copyright 1993 Blues & Rhythm


Blues Access - Steve Romanoski with Cary Wolfson

John Campbell 1952-1993, Blues Access, Fall 1993 p 24

John Mayall once wrote about the death of a friend and mentor, "J.B. Lenoir is dead and it's hit me like a hammer blow." When I learned of the passing of John Campbell - whose stunning performance in New Orleans caused me to rave last issue - I knew what he meant. I wasn't the only one. Neil Slaven wrote in the British magazine Blues & Rhythm, "It's at these times that life leaves you feeling ineffectual." BLUES ACCESS contributor Steve Romanoski was similarly affected. - Cary Wolfson

John Campbell died in his sleep of heart failure in Manhattan on June 13 at the age of 41 and I'm pissed. Campbell was a relative newcomer to the national blues scene and one of the few players who managed to fuse his own sound with the fury of traditional Delta blues. His recordings, although few in number, put it on the line every time. In live performance, he was that rare musician who could directly connect the audience to his inner world. It infuriates me that now he's done and won't be allowed to carry his music to another level of art.

Campbell was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1952 and began playing the guitar in earnest at the age of 16 when a serious car accident forced him to spend long hours alone. He told Bob Chapman (in BLUES ACCESS #11) that "when I grabbed hold of that note, and played it, and sung the words, suddenly I felt better physically. It's like, you know, I could cry when I was playing the guitar, or I could get mad, or I would feel good. It was at that point I realized that that's when I met the blues." He quit school, caught a Greyhound bus and migrated around the South, playing for whoever would listen, and absorbed the music firsthand.

His travels eventually brought him to New York City where he gigged regularly at the Lone Star Roadhouse and gained his first recording contract. "When I realized that I was going to make the record, it had a very inverse effect on me. I sat in a little apartment in New York, and man I stayed in there for a long time. And it was like, that stuff I had been chasing around the highways for 25 years, I had to come to terms with now, on that record." He spoke of that record, One Believer, as his exorcism. It brought him to a new audience that found the darkness in his music to be a psychic force that echoed their images of the blues.

He wrote of demon and despair, nightmare and dream. The bizarre imagery and voodoo trappings were no mere affectations: he claimed to be a conjurer and a hoodoo man. It was hard to doubt him. "This is a very ritualistic experience for me and this is my life. It's something that I take very seriously. I carry my magic with me on and off the stage. But, it's only when I'm on stage doing music that I fully feel it and I feel the presence of it," he told interviewer Howard Thompson.

I saw John Campbell twice. At the 1992 Chicago Blues Festival he opened a Lightnin' Hopkins tribute. I sat in amazement as Campbell reeled of a semi-autobiographical song that demonstrated the variety of guitar styles he had incorporated into his sound. He didn't play with his band during that set, but was able to hold the audience mesmerized with a fusion of intense guitar work and unbelievably emotional songs.

I saw him next, earlier this year, at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago. The addition of his regular band just enhanced the effect. The stage was a series of black and white contrasts that amplified the eerie power of his music.

Dr. John eulogized at Campbell's funeral that "this Earth is no place that I'm proud to call home. All these people touched by him understand there must be a better place. He gave us more than music, he gave himself. He came form that Delta roots and Mississippi mud and showed us the way to something much higher."

I'm gonna miss John Campbell. I expected to be listening to him for many years and even planned to interview him the next time he rambled through Chicago. Now that won't happen, so I guess I'll just be thankful I can enjoy what he gave us. But, I'll still rage at the spirits who called him back. This time there won't be an encore.

When it comes my time to die
Just put me down by the highway side
So's my wicked spirit
Can easily catch a Greyhound bus and ride.

Copyright 1993 Blues Access


Dirty Linen - Ellen Geisel

"In Memoriam: John Campbell", Dirty Linen, October/November 1993 p 9

It's been said that only the good die young. John Campbell was good; and his death on June 13 at the age of 41 leaves a gaping hole in the current blues scene. The singer-guitarist, who was in the midst of working on demos with former Double Trouble bassist Tommy Shannon, died of heart failure at his home in New York City. A spokesperson from his management company confirmed that he had previous health problems.

Campbell, who hailed from Shreveport, Louisiana, was a purveyor of dark, driving Delta blues. For 25 years, he played in places where he said "...if you didn't have a gun they gave you one...." Beginning his professional career at the age of 13, Campbell digressed briefly when he took up drag racing, until a horrific accident sidelined him. His recuperation period was spent listening to Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker, a time that served to define his desire to make the blues his life.

Campbell relocated to New York in 1988, and found the city deeply influencing the music. He said, "...At first, it felt like the city was going to engulf a lonely, single guitar." Signed to Elektra, Campbell recorded One Believer [CD 961086-2]. The content of this 1991 label debut often imparts a sense of foreboding, at the same time heralding the recognition of an uncommon talent. "I got the Devil in my closet, and the wolf is at my door," Campbell sings in a deep growl.

This year's Howlin' Mercy [CD 961440-2] rages even more. "When the Levee Breaks" (Led Zeppelin-Memphis Minnie) allows Campbell's National steel guitar to seethe with swamp and bayou attitude; while the traditional "Saddle Up My Pony" is spine tingling in its vocal intensity. A tour with the Buddy Guy band had brought John Campbell to the attention of a wider audience, his rock 'n blues opening set playing nicely against Guy's Chicago sensibilities.

From One Believer to Howlin' Mercy, we've seen an artist do some personal conquering, one who was gearing up to offer so much more. "If there was a phantom hellhound chasing me at one point in my life, maybe now he's sitting beside me," said Campbell. "I taught him to sit, so I can stand my ground a little bit more. Still, I feel like I'm just beginning. All this time, I've been preparing myself as a student. I'm not near done." - Ellen Geisel (Clifton Park, NY)


Living Blues - John Allison

"John Campbell", Living Blues, September/October, 1993 p 55

John Campbell died in his sleep at home due to heart failure on Sunday, June 13 at the age of 41. He had just returned from sold out, highly acclaimed performances in Europe where he had been previously touring with Buddy Guy.

John was born in Shreveport, Louisiana on January 20, 1952. He was surrounded by music throughout his life. His grandmother played Hawaiian style steel guitar and at the age of three John began playing with the instrument, but had to wait until he was eight before his father bought him his first guitar. He played it that day until his fingers bled, put band-aids on, and continued playing. By the time he was 13 he was playing professionally. John�s uncle�s record collection of Lightnin Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, and others had a profound impact on his life. He found comfort in the blues. For years, he played roadhouses, field parties, and various other gatherings. A country boy comfortable with his surroundings, it wasn�t until 1987 that John was finally enticed to make the move from rural Texas to New York City.

In New York people took notice of the enormous talent he possessed. With the help of his New York admirers (just about everybody that heard him) John�s musical career took off. I was fortunate to have been part of what we called John�s Church, a small restaurant in Greenwich Village where Jonathon bass always welcomed a stranger with a guitar. The first night they passed the hat, John made $12. Word of his abilities caught on and for the next six months I devoted every Friday and Saturday night to participating in this musical ritual. We all knew it was just a matter of time before his awesome talent would carry him beyond our little congregation.

John carried on the deep blues traditions and styles of those who came before him while at the same time branding his music with his own unique feelings. Seeing him perform, one developed an insatiable appetite for his music. Elektra Records felt the same way, offering him a contract on the spot after a performance at New York�s Lone Star Caf� where he opened for Albert King.

John recorded two albums on Elektra � One Believer and Howlin Mercy. He also recorded a solo album produced by Ronnie Earl for West Germany�s Crosscut Records entitled A Man and His Blues, which hit number seven on the German pop charts.

John�s never faltering congenial demeanor to all those he encountered earned him deep respect. His frenzied, stunning, full throttle steel guitar improvisations will always be remembered. He is survived by his wife, Dolly Fox, and a daughter Paris. - John Allison

Copyright 1993 Living Blues


The Advocate - John Wirt

"Bluesman John Campbell Dead", The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La.), June 16, 1993, Page: 18

Blues musician and Shreveport native John Campbell died Sunday of heart failure at his home in New York. Campbell, 41, performed April 30 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center with fellow Louisiana blues guitar greats Buddy Guy and Sonny Landreth.

April 25 was declared John Campbell Day in Baton Rouge, the same day the acclaimed singer-guitarist helped judge Guitar Wars at the Centroplex, a competition that attracted guitarists from throughout Louisiana. On April 24, Campbell had wowed listeners at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Johnny Palazzotto, producer of WTGE-FM's "Louisiana Music Show" and the recent Guy, Landreth and Campbell concert at LSU, said word-of-mouth following the LSU performance credited Campbell with stealing the show.

"John was a promising, exciting artist," Palazzotto said. "He put his heart and soul into it. It's sad to lose someone as genuine as he was. He definitely had a lot more to say. His work had its dark side, but he was a sincere and gentle man, and great to work with." Although Campbell turned professional at 13, success was a long time coming. "He really did pound the pavement for years to get the recognition he deserved," Palazzotto said.

After working the rough Southern blues circuit for more than two decades, Campbell moved to New York five years ago. In 1991, at age 39, he signed with Elektra Records. Campbell recorded two albums for the label, 1991's "One Believer" and "Howlin' Mercy," released in January. Billboard's review of "One Believer" cited Campbell as "an important new voice in a powerful genre."

Campbell is survived by his wife, Dolly, his 5-month-old daughter, Paris, a sister, Ellen Searcey, brother, William, and father, John Campbell Sr. Services will be held Thursday in New York.

Copyright 1993 The Advocate


Folk Roots - John Tobler

People, Misc., Folk Roots, August 1993, Page: 10

Sad to report the death of white American country blues singer/guitarist John Campbell, aged 41, who died in his sleep over the weekend of June 12/13 at his New York home. Campbell was due to imminently embark on a European tour in support of his recently released Howlin Mercy album. Already affected by heart problems, it is believed that a recent change of medication may be partly responsible for his untimely demise.

Campbell polarized opinions among blues enthusiasts, but a personal view is that his somewhat voodoo-inclined songs and his well developed acoustic guitar style behind angry and anguished vocals made him a true original. From Shreveport, Louisiana, he was injured whilst drag racing in the late 60s which left him without his right eye and with 5000 stitches in his face - even if he wasn't black, that's enough reason to know the blues. During a lengthy recuperation, he taught himself guitar, inspired by and based on Lightnin' Hopkins and John Lee Hooker.

His sadly small recorded legacy also includes A Man and His Blues (1988) on specialist label Cross Cut and his 1991 Elektra debut, One Believer. His last two albums were produced by Dennis Walker (of Robert Cray fame) who also co-wrote many of the songs with Campbell. This death was unnecessarily early. - John Tobler

Copyright 1993 Folk Roots


Le Soleil - Quebec

Mort du chanteur de blues Am�ricain John Campbell, Le Soleil, June 17, 1993 p. C4

American bluesman John Campbell died during the night of June 12-13 at his home in New York at the age of 41. The cause of his death is not known. John Campbell, whom we had seen at Le Festival d��t� de Qu�bec (Quebec Summer Festival), was in the tradition of the white blues singer, like his predecessors Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughan. An individual with a recognizable image � his scarced face still showed the traces of a serious car accident he had at the age of 15 - Campbell waited a long time before he released his first record a year ago. That album, One Believer, received positive reviews.

This article was originally published in French and has been translated by Jacques Dulac. Original French

Copyright 1993 Le Soleil


Voir - Montreal

John Campbell, Voir, June 17-23, 1993

Early this week we learned of the death of the guitar player and singer John Campbell, a bluesman that Montreal had recently made its hero. He played the slide guitar with a high degree of personal and charged history. He had some friends in Montr�al, like the �female� guitar player Kat Dyson and Ants, whom had worked with him in recent years. We give them our sympathy. - Laurent Saulnier

This article was originally published in French and has been translated by Jacques Dulac. Original French

Copyright 1993 Voir


Blues Revue Quarterly - Gregory Isola

"John Campbell: 1952-1993", Blues Revue Quarterly, Vol. 10, 1993 p 54

John Campbell cut an imposing figure when the lights went down. Tall and lean and looking for all the world like a man possessed, the Louisiana born bluesman stalked darkened stages with his amped-up National Duolian in tow, howling songs of love and loss, of wandering spirits and demons in the night. In a less volatile setting, though, he was a gentle man whose voice, a rough and rolling drawl filled with love when he spoke of the people and the music around him.

Mr. Campbell died in his sleep of heart failure, while at home in New York on June 13th. He was 41 years old. Although his professional recording career didn�t begin until he was 39, he had been playing guitar and singing his songs in every joint between Houston and New Orleans for over two decades. He is survived by his wife, Dolly Fox; his five month-old daughter Paris, his sister Ellen Searcey; his brother, William Campbell; and his father John Campbell, Sr.

Born in Shreveport in 1952, Campbell was inspired to make music by a guitar-playing grandmother. He began playing local parties by the time he was thirteen. It was in the bed-ridden aftermath of a violent drag racing accident, that a sixteen-year old Campbell fell under the spell of the blues. Long hours spent listening to old records, nurtured a heartfelt respect for the older blues artists that continued for the rest of his life. In 1988, after moving to New York, Campbell recorded A Man and His Blues for the German Cross-Cut label. Signed to Elektra in 1991, he recorded two acclaimed albums, One Believer and 1993�s Howlin Mercy. Campbell�s recorded work emphasizes his gut wrenching vocals and haunting slide, a combination that lost none of its intensity when switched to a band setting.

Campbell was richly aware of blues history, and he always invoked the names of his elders when discussing his own musical heritage. This was the case when he described his decision to form a band after going at it alone for so long. �I was opening up solo for Gatemouth Brown again after many years,� he explained earlier this year, �and he said to me, �Son, I see you�re still playing by yourself. Don�t you know that music is supposed to be a sharing experience?� The blues world couldn�t agree more, and we�re left sadly with one less person to share the music with. - Gregory Isola

Copyright 1993 Blues Revue Quarterly


Obit - Blues and Soul

Excerpt from: "Alexander and Campbell Die", Blues and Soul, Vol. 641, July 6-19th 1993 p 6

John Campbell ... [has] died, ... Campbell, just 41, [died] of heart failure at his home in New York on June 13th.

John Campbell's remarkable 25 year musical journey was propelled by an obsession with music that caused him to sacrifice all other aspects of his life without a thought, spending the bulk of his career on the Southern blues circuit. Signed to Elektra in 1991, Campbell leaves two powerful albums "One Believer" (1991) and "Howlin Mercy" (1993). He is survived by his wife, Dolly, his daughter Paris and father John Campbell Sr.

Copyright 1993 Blues and Soul

This article has been translated to French by Jacques Dulac. French Translation


Obit - Guitar Player

"Requiem for a Bluesman", Guitar Player, Vol. 27, September 1993 p 14

John Campbell died of heart failure in his home in New York on June 13. A performer for 25 years, Campbell spent the bulk of his career on the Southern blues circuit, signed with Elektra in 1991, and released the critically acclaimed One Believer LP later that year. This year�s Howlin Mercy was more of a rock and roll effort, but failed to generate the impact he�d hoped for. Campbell leaves a wife, Dolly and their five-month-old daughter Paris. He was 41.

Copyright 1993 Guitar Player

This article has been translated to French by Jacques Dulac. French Translation


Obit - Mobile Register

"John Campbell", Mobile Register, June 16, 1993

Mobilians learned Tuesday of the death of heavy metal rock musician John Campbell, husband of singer and actress Dolly Fox, in New York City.Campbell, who was in his early 40s, was found dead Sunday in their apartment, having suffered an apparent heart attack.

A soloist, Campbell, a native of New Orleans, opened for such acts as the Allman Brothers. He was a slide guitarist whose music had deep roots in the blues.

Mrs. Campbell is the daughter of former Mobilian Yolande Betbeze Fox, Miss America of 1951, and a well-known Washington, D.C., hostess.

In addition to his wife, Campbell is survived by an infant daughter, Paris.

Funeral services will be at 10 a.m.Thursday in St. Vincent's Cathedral in New York City.

Copyright 1993 Mobile Register

This article has been translated to French by Jacques Dulac. French Translation


Obit - Guitar World

Photo Copyright 1993 Guitar World/File Photo

"Whammy Bar: News and Notes", Guitar World, Vol. 14, September 1993 p 15

Blues guitarist John Campbell died June 13th of heart failure in his sleep at his home in New York. He was 41 years old. After two decades on the Southern blues circuit, Campbell was signed by Elektra Records two years ago and released two fine albums, One Believer and Howlin Mercy, which highlighted his haunting amped up, reverb drenched acoustic slide playing. He is survived by his wife, Dolly, and his five month old daughter, Paris.

Copyright 1993 Guitar World

This article has been translated to French by Jacques Dulac. French Translation


Houston Chronicle - Marty Racine

Excerpt from: "Pop Notes", Houston Chronicle, June 17, 1993

It wasn't a story to make the front page or to be picked up by the wire services. But blues music lost part of its soul, part of its future, when guitarist and vocalist John Campbell died Sunday morning at the age of 42 in his adopted hometown of New York. "His wife found him unconscious. The paramedics came and pronounced him dead," said his Chicago-based booking agent Garry Bock. "He apparently died in his sleep."

Campbell had a heart problem. No autopsy results had been reported by press time, but friends suspect his condition led to his death. Backstage at his March Houston show, in which he opened for Buddy Guy at the Tower Theater, Campbell mentioned the possibility of open heart surgery but felt his schedule was too demanding. "I'd rather be out playing," he told Rockefeller's Russell Hays.

Campbell possessed a fearsome, haunting look - due in part to a car wreck that disfigured his face - but he was a gentleman's gentleman. He made his Houston debut at the Benson & Hedges Blues Festival at The Summit. He also played several clubs here. His most recent album is Howlin' Mercy.

Copyright 1993 Houston Chronicle


Shreveport Times

"Ex-Shreveport Blues Musician Dies in Sleep at 41", Shreveport Times, June 15, 1993

Former Shreveport bluesman John Campbell, who after years of club work was signed to a major record label in 1991, dies this past weekend at his New York City home, a label spokeswoman said.

Campbell died in his sleep, said Lisa Frank of Elektra Records. He was discovered around 4 a.m. Sunday, she said.

Campbell was 41. The exact cause of death was unknown.

The singer/guitarist's career was taking off with two blues albums on Elektra, 1992's One Believer and Howlin' Mercy (1993). Campbell toured extensively in the United States and Europe in support of these releases, opening dates for Buddy Guy and Johnny Winter. Campbell was set to open a show for Guy this Saturday in New York City's Central Park.

Campbell was a well-known performer in this area under the name Johnny "Slim" Campbell before moving to New York in the mid-80s. He was particularly noted for his slide guitar work.

Copyright 1993 Shreveport Times

This article has been translated to French by Jacques Dulac. French Translation


Variety - Bruce Haring

"John Campbell", Variety, June 15, 1993

Elektra recording artist John Campbell died June 13 of heart failure at his home in New York, the label reported Monday. Campbell, 41, was signed to Elektra at age 39 and released two albums, 1991's "One Believer" and this year's "Howlin' Mercy."

The guitarist was a longtime veteran of the Southern blues circuit.

Survived by his wife, Dolly; a 5-month-old daughter; a sister, brother and his father.

Funeral services will be held Thursday in New York.

Copyright 1993 Variety

This article has been translated to French by Jacques Dulac. French Translation


Obit - Q Magazine

"John Campbell", Q Magazine, August 1993

Back-country white bluesman John Campbell, "discovered" and signed only a couple of years ago, has died at 41. A denizen of the R&B bars of Louisiana and Texas, he'd had two well-received albums released, One Believer and, this year Howlin Mercy.

Copyright 1993 Q Magazine

This article has been translated to French by Jacques Dulac. French Translation


Obit - Chicago Tribune

Excerpt from: "Deaths Last Week", Chicago Tribune, June 20, 1993

John Campbell, 41, a blues guitarist and singer from Shreveport, La.; he took up the guitar at the age of 16 after he was seriously injured in a drag-racing accident; during his convalescence, he spent hours listening to blues artists such as John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf and soon began playing in roadhouses in Louisiana and Texas; he went to New York City in 1987, making the rounds of the city's small music clubs and bars; his first album for the label, "One Believer," was released later that year, and was followed last February by a second album, "Howlin' Mercy"; June 13 in New York City of heart failure.

Copyright 1993 Chicago Tribune

This article has been translated to French by Jacques Dulac. French Translation


Obit - New York Times

New York Times, June 17, 1993

John Campbell, 41, guitarist and singer

John Campbell, a blues guitarist and singer, died on Jun 13, 1993 of heart failure. He was 41.

CAMPBELL, John Allen Jr. on June 13, 1993. Beloved husband of Dolly Fox Campbell. Loving father of Paris. Memorial viewing Wednesday evening 7-9 pm. Memorial Mass Thursday 10 AM St. Vincent Ferrer Church, 64th St and Lexington Ave.

Copyright 1993 New York Times

This article has been translated to French by Jacques Dulac. French Translation


Obit - San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Chronicle, June 19, 1993

John Campbell, a blues guitarist and singer, died Sunday at his home in New York City at the age of 41. The cause was heart failure, said a statement from Elektra Records.

Copyright 1993 San Francisco Chronicle

This article has been translated to French by Jacques Dulac. French Translation


Copyright � 2005, Thomas Geiger
Revised: February 6, 2005